Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Repeat after me ... "

... a short part of the book "Just Don't Fall."

"First thing. Repeat after me. Life is tough.
That's the bad news. The second part is the good news.
Life is beautiful."

Josh Sundquist was 9 when life changed. Cancer took his leg and his dreams of playing soccer, making the really good team, getting the cool jersey - all gone and he is told he won't be able to play soccer (at least not like he did) again.

We have different stories, but it's interesting. Before my diagnosis, I remember my doctor (the only one who ever seemed to think this was MS before the day it was diagnosed) telling me I needed to get used to the fact that I might not be able to run competitively again.

What?!! You have GOT to be kidding me - ouch. Similar reaction.


A search for something, some new goal, some way to define oneself.

Josh Sundquist found it in skiing. He made it to Terrino in the Paralympics. It wasn't an easy road to make it there. But he found something, pursued it, got it. He got the jersey (the book is really funny in describing things like his desire for this).

I found it interesting to read how he discovered skiing. He "got it" (the feeling of it) right away. I also discovered skiing - not in quite the same way - but I got to get outside again. I read about his strategies - how he was taught - to ski. And I recalled someone giving me the same strategies.

But there was a difference. Josh saw skiing as a complete replacement (almost) to soccer - something he could finally do well. He could pass people - he could be good. He could let go.

Although skiing isn't a total replacement, or even remotely close, to running for me, I think I got it. I had to let go. And I did that the last time I went skiing.

Different disabilities, different lives, but common themes. He goes through life telling himself there is not time to fail. He can't let people down. This is sounding familiar - different reasons.

He is told...
"What if you could succeed if you failed? What if you did your best, and that was enough? You gave one hundred percent effort, and even if you didn't reach one hundred percent success, you accepted it, because there's nothing you can do to change what's already happened."

I skied. It wasn't perfect. For the first time I fell by carving too much - being too aggressive. One hundred percent, finally. It felt great.

"Life is tough.
That's the bad news. The second part is the good news.
Life is beautiful."

Yes, life IS beautiful.


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